Monday, March 29, 2010

E. J. Dionne and the Liberal “Peter Pan” Mythos......

In a Commentary piece entitled, “Under-30 Americans: The Next New Dealers,” E. J. Dionne (pictured above) exhibits an awful lot of Liberal wishful thinking!

In that piece E. J. Dionne asserts, “Americans under 30 include the largest proportion of self-described liberals and the smallest proportion of self-described conservatives of any age group: 29 percent of the under-30s called themselves liberal, compared with 28 percent who called themselves conservative.
"In every other age group," Pew notes, "far more described their views as conservative than liberal."

“Among Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980), the conservative advantage over liberals was 38 percent to 20 percent. Among baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964), conservatives led 43 percent to 18 percent. Among those born in 1945 or before - Pew uses the classic "Silent Generation" tag - the conservative advantage was 45 to 15 percent.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Dionne and other "Liberal wishful thinkers," the facts seem to assert the opposite.
According to one recent poll, “In 1989, 66 percent of freshmen believed abortion should be legal; and in 2003, 54 percent did. In 1995, 66 percent of students agreed that wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes; in 2003 it was 50 percent. Students have traditionally favored stiffer gun control laws, but the study found that there has been weakening support for them over the years.”

Gallup’s recent findings have been even more stark; “Looking back at 2009, Gallup has singled out two trends: a growing percentage of Americans who identify themselves as conservatives and a decline in the percentage who identify themselves as Democrats.
“Forty percent described themselves as conservatives last year, compared to 36 percent who said they were moderates and 21 percent who called themselves liberals. In 2008, conservatives and moderates were tied at 37 percent each, with liberals at 22 percent. Between 1992 and 2002, moderates reigned as the largest ideological group..

“While the percentage of independents who considered themselves to be moderates held fairly steady in the low to mid-40s during the last decade, the percentages of Republicans and Democrats who described themselves as moderate declined. Forty-four percent of Democrats were in the moderate camp in 2000 compared to 39 percent last year, and 23 percent of Republicans said they were moderates, compared to 31 percent in 2000.

. Gallup's findings point to increasing polarization between Republicans and Democrats. The number of Democrats who considered themselves as liberals grew during the decade from 29 percent in 2000 to 38 percent last year. The percentage of Republicans who identified themselves as conservatives grew from 62 percent in 2000 to 71 percent last year.”

.      Gallup goes on to note that, “Despite the results of the 2008 presidential election, Americans, by a 2-to-1 margin, say their political views in recent years have become more conservative rather than more liberal, 39% to 18%, with 42% saying they have not changed.

. “...In 2009 (from January through May), 40% of Americaans call themselves conservative, up from 37% in 2007 and 2008, and the highest level since 2004.

. “...In the latest survey, 38% of Americans describe their political views as conservative, and among this group 58% say their views have grown more conservative in recent years.

. “At the same time, political moderates are twice as likely to say they have grown more conservative as opposed to more liberal (33% vs. 18%), thus further tipping the scales in favor of conservatism.

.A look at how America votes on the issues proves that what Gallup and others have noted, is certainly true. Gun control has grown LESS popular across the board, there’s been no diminution of the nearly 70% support for the death penalty and support for abortion has shrunk each year

notes, “Have Americans' positions on major cultural, social, and policy issues shifted left accordingly? A broad review of the available trends suggests not.

 .“Gallup polling shows Americans becoming more conservative on gun control between 2004 and 2008, with opposition to banning handguns growing from 63% to 69%. And disagreement with making gun laws "more strict" grew, from 45% to 49%. 
  “Americans also became more likely to say the economy should be given priority over the environment when the two interests conflict - although that may reflect the difficult economic times, rather than an ideological shift away from environmentalism.”.

. Even African-Americans are beginning to trend more Conservative as they age. “According to the Joint Center's report, in 2004 - for the first time in recent years - younger African Americans became more Democratic and older African Americans became more Republican.

 .“African-American voters between the ages of 19 to 25 who labeled themselves as Democrats increased from 54 percent to 71 percent, and from 56 to 63 percent among those ages 26 to 35. But older African Americans were less likely in 2004 to identify themselves as Democrats and more likely to identify as Republicans, the survey found.

“Black seniors between the ages of 51 and 64 shifted from a 75 percent Democrat and 5 percent Republican split, to a 66 percent Democrat and 12 percent GOP split.” .

. Moreover, all studies show that people grow more Conservative as they get older, apparently as life’s realities begin to dawn on us all, no matter how naïve.. 

                              That’s a point that even Mr. Dionne seems to acknowledge in closing his piece with, “...since 2008, the Millennials' "enthusiasms" have "cooled" - "for Obama and his message of change, for the Democratic Party and, quite possibly, for politics itself."

 .Yes, even the most idealistic of 18-year olds eventually wake up.

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